Silvestre de Sousa pushes himself to the limit to win with Wishful Thinker at Sha Tin

Jockey Silvestre de Sousa pushed himself to the limit to ride out Sunday’s meeting at Sha Tin despite the pain but his win on talented sprinter Wishful Thinker made it all worth it.

The star Brazilian was in serious doubt for the meeting after suffering a lower back injury at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and was in noticeable pain after races, but was able to lift the Richard Gibson-trained galloper to victory against just three rivals in the Class One Flamingo Flower Handicap (1,200m) to do the horse’s Dubai aspirations no harm.

De Sousa underwent intense physiotherapy in hospital and was offered a painkilling needle on Sunday morning to get him through, but elected to ride through the pain after booking a full card of rides.

“I had a good book of rides so I pushed myself to the limit to ride today,” he said. “I had a lot of physio, I damaged the tissue near the disc, vertebrae five, but they did such a good job, I was having physio twice a day and good treatment.

“I got one winner so it has paid off but I thought it could be a few more but the main thing is I have got through in one piece.

“I did not want a needle today, they offered me one and I said no, I will just use the painkillers.”

Gibson was full of praise for De Sousa, who managed to take his win total to 41 with the victory.

“It was cool and collected from Silvestre, you can see he is not 100 per cent, he got off the horse pretty gingerly but he kept his cool and the horse showed a lot of class,” he said.

“This horse is still improving, which is very exciting considering the rating he is at. I don’t think we have got to the bottom of him yet so it is a good position to be in.”

Going into Sunday’s race with a rating of 112, Wishful Thinker will find himself on the cusp of gaining an entry into the stacked Group One Al Quoz Sprint (1,200m) in Dubai on March 30, but Gibson said they were happy to make other plans if they did not get the invitation.

“We will have to wait and see, first of all we have to get the invitation,” he said. “I spoke to the owner yesterday and we have two very nice problems, the nice problem of choosing to go to Dubai or we have got the nice problem of choosing whether to target the top sprint races coming up [in Hong Kong].

“I am just pleased that I have got an improving sprinter and we haven’t seen the bottom of him yet.”



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